I represent the first generation who, when we were born, the television was now a permanent fixture in our homes. When I was born people had breakfast with Barbara Walters, dinner with Walter Cronkite, and slept with Johnny Carson.
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When Rogers was approached for M*A*S*H, he planned to audition as Hawkeye Pierce. However, he found the character too cynical and asked to screen test as Trapper John, whose outlook was brighter. Rogers was told that Trapper and Hawkeye would have equal importance as characters. This changed after Alan Alda, whose acting career and résumé up to that point had outshone that of Rogers, was cast as Hawkeye, and proved to be more popular with the audience. Rogers did, however, still enjoy working with Alda and the rest of the cast as a whole (Alda and Rogers quickly became close friends), but eventually chafed that the writers were devoting the show's best humorous and dramatic moments to Alda.
When the writers took the liberty of making Hawkeye a thoracic surgeon in the episode "Dear Dad" (December 17, 1972) even though Trapper was the unit's only thoracic surgeon in the movie and the novel, Rogers felt Trapper was stripped of his credentials.
On the M*A*S*H* 30th Anniversary Reunion Television Special aired by Fox-TV in 2002, Rogers once spoke on the differences between the Hawkeye and Trapper characters, "Alan (Alda) and I both used to discuss ways on how to distinguish the differences between the two characters as to where there would be a variance... my character [Trapper John McIntyre] was a little more impulsive [than Hawkeye]." Rogers considerably reduced his Alabama accent for the character of Trapper.
Rogers also starred in several other movies. In 1981 he played the role of an art forger in Roger Vadim's The Hot Touch. Then, in the movie The Gig (1985), alongside Cleavon Little, as a jazz musician-hobbyist whose group has an opportunity to play a Catskills resort and must confront failure.